Real Craftsmen in Magic

IF YOU LOOK AROUND TODAY AT MAGIC that is sold by the ton to the fraternity, there are hundreds of gizmo cards,  bits of cardboard, fake coins, routines and things that are cooked up from such sources as stationers, hardware shops and the like. There are few pieces of beautifully handmade magic that are created and built by real magicians who possess the fine skill of the craftsmen of yesteryear. The way it used to be done a hundred or so years ago. I have mentioned Colin Rose before, trained as a designer of silver jewellery and now uniquely crafting the most beautful magic props in fine woods that are only obtainable from his company Five of Hearts Magic Productions.

But there is another long established magician /craftman whose pedigree goes way back to the days of Harry Stanley and Ken Brooke. Bob Swadling. With his lovely Oxfordshire accent and a brain and skilled hands that were trained at top level working in the aero/atomic industry that were turned to the craft of making outstanding magic props where quality and reliability were paramount. He was the man behind the scenes who made superb fake coins and other engineered items of magic for top professionals and the trade and on his retirement he created Swadling Magic, creators and manufacturers of original quality magic. I was reminded of all this at his excellent lecture at The Magic Circle earlier this week when once more I saw his amazing changing cards that literally change in mid air. (This is an outstanding item and he made me a special set some years ago whereby any card could be freely selected from a spread and shown to be the only card with a different coloured back. It’s quite brilliant)

But he showed a whole parade of brilliant thinking and craftsmanship, lovingly put together for those who value quality.From his Power Pack whereby a deck delivers timed coins into a tumbler, to his exquisitely made coin box, the stylish aluminium three shell game, torn and restored card that becomes whole in mid-are in a flash of fire and his visible coin through handkerchief where you actually see the coin  penetrate! Everything he makes looks terrific and works perfectly, the hallmark of Swadling magic. And look out for his shortly to be seen prize winning coin in the bottle whereby the coin is seen to penetrate in the side of the bottle!

And if you want to witness his ingenuity ask to see the Kristal Card Stab, designed by him for his daughter’s cabaret act where a dagger pushed through the side of a deck correctly stabs a selected card, seen on the blade as the deck drops away in a burst of flame. Great theatre and great magic. Bob and his wife Val (herself a magic competition prizewinner) are just off to to the U.S. for Christmas with their daughter but he’ll be at Blackpool so do yourself a favour and check out his outstandingly made magic. Or if you want a quick run down on his items, he produces  two DVD’s called “Magical Moments with Bob Swadling” –

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